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The Mind's Eye 

Volume 2 Number 1 


The Mind's Eye is a journal of review and comment 
published monthly during the college year 
at North Adams, Massachusetts 01247 

September 1977 


W. Anthony Gengarelly 
Stephen A. Green 
R. Michael Haines 
Charles A. Mclsaac 
Thomas A. Muikeen 


Charles A. Mclsaac 

W. Anthony Gengarelly 

William G. Seeiey 3 

Ellen Schiff 


Sacco-Vanzetti revisited in the light of 
Governor Michael Dukakis's Proclamation 
of August 26 

Nifty overview of our energy needs from 
now to 2000, and a summary of President 
Carter's National Energy Plan 


Eloquent diary of nine days in the 
summer of '77 


Michael Haines 7 Sodom II 


3 Enigmatic Ireland 
6 Cape Cod's Water 
Newsweek Watch 

Gatherings from the press 

Sarah Clarke 

8 The Contributors 

INVITATION III. In the first two issues of The Mind's Eye (April 
and May) invitations went forth for contributions. They are hereby 
extended again. The Mind's Eye is an instrument of communication 
through which faculty, administrators, and students can talk to each 
other in a special way. Your research, comment, reflections, reviews, 
poetry, fiction are solicited. 


were up to 2 quads, and this year we will 
use 73 quads. At this rate of increase we 
will need 200 quads per year by the year 2000. 
Because there simply is not enough energy in 
conventional sources to meet this need, some- 
thing drastic must be done. If we slow our 
growth to the rate which the National Academy 
of Sciences predicts, we will need 170 quads 
by the year 2000 in order to maintain the 
present ratio of energy to Gross Rational Pro- 
duct. This is still more energy than we can 
draw from present sources. In other words, at 
our projected rate of growth we will not make 
it to the year 2000. The National Energy Plan 
addresses this problem. 

The primary aspect of the Federal Program is 
energy conservation: If we impose the strict- 
est conservation measures, and project a very 
optimistic result, we can save 65 quads per 
year. This reduces the need to 105 quads per 
year by 2000 (a short 23 years away), 32 quads, 
or about. 45%, more than we use now, Finding 
the source of this extra 32 quads represents 
the problem. 

Oil presently provides 30 quads per year (half 
from abroad, at a cost of 32 billion dollars; 
and the price will surely increase). Present 
projections are that we may be able to hold 
this contribution to total energy supply con- 
stant through 2000, and that, with the aid of 
increased domestic production, we can keep our 
imports at their current level. Natural gas 
provides 23 quads, but by 2000 this will be 
down to 15 quads. Hydroelectric provides 3 
quads (perhaps 5 quads by 2000) . Coal pro- 
vides 14 quads and nuclear 2.5. The balance is 
from geothermal, which will not increase to a 
significant amount. Nuclear plants presently 
planned will provide (if they are built) anoth- 
er 7 or 8 quads. Taking all of this into con- 
sideration and assuming solar heat supplements 
for 20 million homes, we will be a very conser- 
vative 26 quads short of projected needs. For 
comparison, the "energy crisis" of 1973 and the 
subsequent recession resulted from about a one- 
quad shortfall; and the recent winter gas 
shortage which resulted in over 1 million lay- 
offs was due to a shortage of much less than 
one quad. 

This is the picture. The task is to fill the 
26 quad gap. There are several possibilities. 
We can build three or four hundred nuclear 
plants (as it takes about 15 years to get a 

plant on line, we had better start soon). Or 
we can use our abundant coal reserves. To 
solve our problem this way will take six to 
eight hundred new coal fields along with the 
corequisite transportation systems and genera- 
ting plants. Or we can just change our life 
style. But this means giving up such things as 
health standards and medical care, early re- 
tirement, old age security, and leisure time. 
(Mild discomfort just won't do) What about 
solar energy? Remember we're talking about the 
next 23 years. The technology is there, but 
the cost is high: the 20 million homes men- 
tioned earlier would require an added invest- 
ment of nearly $100 billion at current prices. 
Advanced solar systems, breeder reactors, fu- 
sion reactors, and hydrogen based systems are 
all long range (after 2000) probabilities; and 
the last two have not yet demonstrated techni- 
cal feasibility. 

So we need a plan to meet the oncoming situa- 
tion. The present federal plan (passed without 
crippling changes by the House of Representa- 
tives, and just now being worked over by the 
Senate) offers these solutions: 

Gasoline: If reduced consumption targets 
are not met, a $.50 per gallon tax will 
be imposed by 1989. (Dropped by the 
House. ) 

Heavy penalties for gas-guzzlers; re- 
bates for high mpg cars. (Rebates drop- 
ped by the House.) 

Crude Oil: Domestic oil price raised to 
world level. (Price rises via taxes 
would revert back to consumers.) 

Natural Gas: Prices equalized nationwide 
to $1.75 per 1000 cubic feet. 

Coal Conversion: A 10% credit for indus- 
tries converting to coal; a tax of $.90 
to $3.00 per bbl. of oil for not conver- 

Home Insulation: A 25% personal tax cred- 
it for the first $800 spent on home in- 
sulation; a 15% credit for the next 

Solar Energy: A 40% tax credit for the 
first $1,000 spent on solar devices, and 
25% credit for the next $6,400. 

The National Energy Plan is contained in over 
100 pages of text published by the Executive 
Office of the President, Energy Policy and 
Planning, and lists goals for 1985 as: 

* reduce the annual growth of total energy 
to below two percent. 

* reduce gasoline consumption 10 percent 
below its current level. 

* reduce oil imports from a potential level 
of 16 million barrels per day to 6 mill- 

* establish a strategic petroleum reserve of 
1 billion barrels. 

* increase coal production by two-thirds, to 
more than one billion tons per year. 

* bring 90 percent of existing American 
homes, and all new buildings, up to mini- 
mum energy efficiency standards. 

* use solar energy in more than 2\ million 

It remains to be seen if these goals can be 
met. The growing consensus is that, even if 
the goals are met, it will not be nearly 

To look further: 

The National Energy Plan . Washington, 
D.C.: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 1977. 

Bueche, A. M. "The Hard Truth about Our 
Energy Future." Washington Confer- 
ence on Energy. Reprinted in G. E. 
News, 8 July 1977, Plttsfield, 
Mass . 

"Energy" and "The Nations" sections, Time , 
April 4, 25, May 2, August 15, 1977. 

Technology Review . Almost every issue has 
a significant article on energy- 
related matters. 


Ellen Schiff 

May 25, 1977 . The first indication that the 
Electric Prunes are about to usurp the role 
usually played in our lives by the Julliard 

String Quartet comes as I help our sophomore 
unpack the car. "Please note," he announces 
triumphantly, "that I didn't bring home any 
dirty laundry." "True," I respond, checking 
the urge to inquire what had been on those 
clothes that I wasn't supposed to see. He 
answers the unasked, "That was to make room 
for my albums." As we carry in our son's re- 
cord collection, I am impressed, and for sev- 
eral reasons. Chief among these is my ignor- 
ance of the dozens and dozens of artists rev- 
erently collected by this kid who is neither 
fooled nor amused by my suggestions that Jim 
Croce might be a descendant of Benedetto and 
that Boz Scaggs is surely a fan of Dickens. 
I am also struck by the extent of what he in- 
sists amounts only to a bare bones collection 
of the mere essentials for mood music and 
studying. In my day, those requirements were 
met by "Stardust" and odd numbered symphonies 
of Beethoven. Eager to respond to my evident 
bewilderment, the prodigal son promises to 
play his albums loud enough so I can hear 'em, 
no matter where I am. Before I can phrase a 
gracious demurral, he has re-installed all his 
sound equipment and is making good his offer. 

June 6 . It is suddenly quiet. The kid has 
gone to pick up his sister at her school. It 
takes me three hours to prepare their favorite 
dinner; an hour of actual preparation, two 
hours of explaining into the phone, "She's ex- 
pected about dinner time. Why don't I have 
her call you back around 8?" She arrives with 
bags and bags and bags of laundry ("But, Mom- 
my, I couldn't give back this borrowed stuff 
when it's all pitted out"). Also a stereo and 
a more modest collection of albums. Her Viv- 
aldi, his Earth, Wind and Fire, and the tele- 
phone, which rings instantly the second the 
receiver is replaced in its cradle, furnish 
dinner music for my husband and me, who eat 
the children's favorite dinner ("Don't worry, 
guys, it'll taste just as good cold for lunch 
tomorrow and, besides, we're going out for 
pizza later"). 

June 13 . A banner day. Armed with a knapsack 
full of friends' orders and checks, our son 
leaves at dawn for the Tanglewood Box Office 
and returns hours later, having personally as- 
sured the success of the Popular Artists ser- 
ies. Our daughter gets her driver's license. 

June 21 . We leave for Paris, the kids and I. 
Poor Dad can't get away. Daughter rendez- 
vouses with a school chum who, I am finally 

forced to believe, really has learned the city 
in the company of the titled and the famous. 
"Paris is definitely cool," she decides as 
they rush off, promising to take care of them- 
selves. Son, an art history major, departs 
for the Louvre, all confidence in spite of a 
severely limited French vocabulary ("Don't 
worry, Moms; I'll fill up on le coca and you 
can order me a green vegetable with dinner"). 
I go off to the conference I came for, incred- 
ulous that the first time I sat in these still- 
familiar seats at the Sciences Po, I was the 
same age as the son I've brought with me. 

July 12 . Having been home just long enough to 
make sure that the telephone, the stereos, and 
the washing machine are all in working order, 
we drive back to JFK to meet Pascal, the nine- 
teen-year-old son of French friends who will 
spend a month with us. On the way home from 
the airport, he tells us that he especially 
wants to buy records while he is here: a good 
way to learn English is to study the lyrics of 
rock music (sic) . 

July 15 . Day of reckoning for the permission 
freely granted last February when our daughter 
called from school to ask if she might invite 
friends who'd always wanted to visit the Berk- 
shires in the summer. There are to be six of 
them, it turns out, most arriving from the Hew 
York area. Their carefully contrived plans to 
travel together confounded by the blackout and 
the resulting chaos, they straggle in, one by 
one, each at a different local depot. By ten 
o'clock Friday evening they are finally all 
together on the Tanglewood lawn, scarcely able 
to concentrate on Mozart. They are beautiful 
guests. Their demands are small: one is a 
vegetarian, one needs a bed overlooking an 
electric outlet so she can sterilize her con- 
tact lenses, a third asks to be taken to the 
bus very early Sunday morning so she can get 
home for her dancing lesson. Miraculously, 
the weather is beautiful, nobody steps on a 
bee, and our hot water supply proves equal to 
the occasion. Two of the girls let themselves 
be talked into extending the weekend until 
Wednesday. Now they can go to Tuesday's James 
Taylor concert. And while they are here, they 
can look at a few campuses which will soon be 
looking at them and about which Pascal has 
heard so much in France. It is 98 degrees the 
day we drive to New Haven. 

July 30 . We are finally going on a family 
vacation, all of us. We pack two cars and 

head for the Jersey shore. In order to show 
Pascal the New York skyline, which was invis- 
ible from the air the night he landed, we al- 
ter our customary route to New Jersey; but 
even on this clear day, from across the Hudson, 
New York is still invisible. And now we have 
to drive through Secaucus. "Yes, I think that 
a most remarkable odor," Pascal observes, with 
exquisite Gallic tact. 

August 7 . The shore is magnificent. All our 
guests think so, too. They keep right on 
dropping in, like the donuts in Homer" Price's 
donut machine. The little cottage is so full 
of people, it takes me three days to realize 
there is no stereo playing. ... It is all 
over too soon. We send the children northward 
in one car, while we take Pascal to spend his 
last American day in New York. It is teeming 
rain, but we tour anyway. We return to our 
car after dinner to find that someone has tried 
to steal either it or its contents. Apparent- 
ly the would-be thieves were discouraged by 
the discovery that all that baggage consisted 
of a prodigious accumulation of dirty laundry 
or the realization that the car was wedged too 
tightly into its parking space to be moved. 
We deliver Pascal to JFK and start up the 
laconic. In the unrelenting rain, the visi- 
bility is negligible and the brakes grow reluc- 
tant. The next day we discover that the brake 
cables have all but rotted through. "I think 
this old wagon has made its last trip to the 
shore," concludes my husband. Oddly, I find 
myself worrying how, when the wagon does die, 
the children are going to get all those albums 
to school. With a start I realize that it is 
already time to start thinking about those re- 
turn trips. 

September 2 . Much, much company coming for 
the weekend. Jackson Browne concert. At the 
supermarket, the cashier remarks, "You teach- 
ers are so lucky to have the whole summer off 
with nothing to do. I'll bet you'll be glad 
to get back to get back to school." You bet 
your Blood, Sweat and Tears I am! 


Last year in Harwich Herbert Andrews and his 
wife were ordered by the town to abandon their 
home. The reason: in the judgment of the 
fire department, the house might explode at 
any minute because of petroleum in the tap 
water. "On February 6, 1976, Andrews and his 
wife quietly packed their bags and moved out. 

The Andrews were the first Cape Cod residents 
to lose their home because of contaminated 
ground water. They will not be the last," 
writes William B. Walker in "The Poisoning of 
Cape Cod" ( Country Journal , July) , a sobering 
essay based on a comprehensive hydrogeologic 
study by Arthur N. Strahler. 

For one hundred years Cape Cod has been the 
quintessential American summer resort. For 
those who love it (and few are they who can 
resist its charms) nothing, but nothing, is 
better than the Cape. Its headlands, its 
tidal marshes, its white sandy beaches, its 
peninsular outreaches, its scrub-pine shade, 
the beauty of its rose-covered cottages and 
colonial towns, the bracing air, the pervading 
smell of the sea — all give a heady feeling of 
release and exaltation rarely experienced. 

But time, and too many people, have exacted 
their toll. The subtitle of Walker's article 
is sufficiently alarming: "If present trends of 
water use, sewage disposal, and dump abuse 
continue, the Cape may become uninhabitable by 
the year 2000." 

Succinctly put, the problem is with the Cape's 
unique kind of drinking water supply. It is 
pumped up from a "lens" of fresh water formed 
by eons of rainfall which sank into the ground 
in the shape of an inverted, subterranean dome 
whose weight pushed the ocean's salt water 
down and aside. That water lens is now being 
weakened by too much removal, and adulterated 
by the return of untreated sewage, as well as 
by the introduction of toxic substances — 
petroleum, DDT, dieldrin, lead, cadmium, 
chlorine, latex wastes, herbicides. Salt 
water has made inroads into the freshwater 
dome. Provincetown has closed its wells, gets 
all its water from Truro. Yarmouth has closed 
one well because of salinity, another because 
of herbicide contamination. A well at Otis 
Air Force Base which yielded one million gal- 
lons a day has been closed because of petro- 
leum contamination. That was fourteen years 
ago; it is still toxic today. 

Most disquieting, a well at, say, Chatham 
which gives pure water today may give petro- 
leum tomorrow, DDT next week, and then turn 
pure in a month. Pollutants constantly cir- 
culate from one part of the water lens to 
another. It is like putting a child's duck in 
the bath tub with the tap running: watch it 
float to the other end. This makes reliable 

water testing next to impossible. 

We have become so used to environmental 
alarums that we tune them out. But the Cape 
in imminent danger is something else. The 
author's finely detailed argument leaves no 
room for doubt. "The outlook is bleak," he 
writes. . . . "In an effort to prevent a pub- 
lic health disaster on Cape Cod, the U.S. 
Environmental Protection agency (EPA) began 
a three-hundred-and-f if ty-thousand-dollar 
study to evaluate different methods of ending 
groundwater pollution. The study will provide 
Cape residents with a list of options. There 
will not be many." 

— CAM — 


by Michael Haines 

"Sorry, Abie, not this time — I won't let 
You bargain with me or change my mind. 
I'm going to do them all, you can bet. 
And no more water — I won't be as kind 
As I was when I dealt with What ' s-His-Name, 
Or when I saved your nephew's family. 
('Course his wife blew it — typical dame!) 
No, Abie, I've had it with their obscenity. 
They're all going this time — every one! 
And like I said, no more water, nor fire, 
I've got the perfect way, for what they've 
done — 

What they did to mv_ place — turned it to a mire 
Of muck and garbage and junk and stink: 
I'll let 'em smother in it! What do you 

"Well, I guess it's justice, but Where's the 

I mean, after all, to kill them all — even me?" 


Excerpts from Sarah Clarke's Newsweek Watch. 
The full version is at the library reference 

"Everybody's Search for Roots," by David Gel- 
man et al. 4 July 1977, pp. 26-33. America's 
continuing fascination with, and search for, 
traces of its varied ethnic background. 

"Women vs. Women," by Susan Fraker et al. 
25 July 19 77. Focuses on the struggle between 
NOW feminists and the conservative opponents 
represented by Phyllis Schafly who object to 
the goal of the women's movement. Pp. 34-38. 

"Living Together," by Tony Schwartz et al. 
1 August 1977, pp. 46-50. The increase in the 
number of unmarried people of the opposite sex 
sharing a household indicates a socially sig- 
nificant shift in attitude. 

"To Shrink a Scientist." 8 August 1977, pp. 
35-36. In a conversation with physicist Yuri 
Mnyukh who has just emigrated to the West, 
Newsweek' s Moscow bureau chief, Fred Coleman, 
discussed the nature and methods of Siberian 
exile to "Shrinkage." 

"The Sick World of the Son of Sam," by Pete 
Axthelm et al. 22 August 1977, pp. 16-23. 
With the capture of the New York killer, more 
questions are raised over the motivation 
behind his awful random madness. 

"The Canal: Time to Go?" 22 August 1977, 
pp. 28-36. The pros and cons of Jimmy 
Carter's decision eventually to relinquish 
the Panama Canal. 

"China Ends an Era," by Angus Deming et al. 
29 August 1977, pp. 32-35. With the grand 
opening of the 11th Congress, the Mao Tse-Tung 
era in Chinese history ended and Mao's moder- 
ate successors quietly squelched the zealous 
radicalism of his "perpetual revolution." 


"The Never-Ending Wrong," by Katherine Anne 
Porter ( Atlantic , June). The author's own 
account of her activities on behalf of Sacco 
and Vanzetti in 1927, with some reflections 
on her brief flirtation with communism during 
that time. 

"The Energy Debacle," by Lewis H. Lapham 
( Harper' s , August) . Our National Energy Plan 
is based on a 21-volume Ford Foundation report 
published in 1974 by its Energy Policy Project 
under the title A Time to Choose . The editor 
of Harper's tells the inside story of how the 
study was conducted. Some prominent econo- 
mists have called it an "intellectual dis- 
grace," and the foundation is apparently em- 
barrassed, Lapham applauds the goals of the 
Energy Policy Project but regards its results 
as a flawed base on which to build a solid 
national program. The members — technocrats, 
academics, and industrialists — reached no 
common agreement about the very real problem 
of energy and ended in irreconcilable hostil- 
ity. No wonder that 49% of the people polled 

last month by CBS /New York Times said they did 
not believe there is an energy crisis. 

"The More We Spend, the Less Children Learn," 
by Frank E. Armbruster ( The New York Times 
Magazine , 28 Aug. 1977). Soaring education 
budgets and declining student achievement have 
spawned innumerable inconclusive studies. "It 
is no favor to the child to push him through 
and out of school without the basic skills," 
writes Armbruster in an article adapted from 
his forthcoming book, Our Children's Crippled 
Future: How American Education Has Failed , a 
back-to-tradition treatise 

"The Cost of Coffee," by Philip Berryman 
( Environment , August/September) . Brief study 
of Guatemalan coffee production reprinted 
from the Washington Post , June 7, showing 
where the profits from increased prices have 
gone, namely, to the government and a small 
group of landowners. The berry-pickers are 
paid about $1.50 a day — leaving them still in 
abject poverty, for consumer goods cost the 
same in Guatemala as they do in the U.S. The 
rich get richer, as the world worsens. 

The Contributors 

W. Anthony Gengarelly, Assistant Professor of 
History, is writing a book on the post-World 
War I Red Scare. 

Professor William G. Seeley, Chairman of the 
Physics Department, has been working on solar 
energy for the past four years. 

Ellen Schiff is Professor of French and Com- 
parative Literature. Her particular interests 
are in contemporary drama and ethnic liter- 
ature , 

Michael Haines, Assistant Professor of 
English, is a specialist in medieval liter- 
ature and a freelance journalist. 

Sarah Clarke is Head of the Circulation 
Department and Librarian of the Teacher 
Resources Center in Freel Library. 


The editorial board of The Mind's Eye is 
gratefully indebted to President James T. 
Amsler and Dean James R. Roach for advice, 
encouragement, and fiscal support. 

W. Anthony Gengarelly 

On April 15, 1920, in broad daylight, two 
armed men robbed and murdered a paymaster and 
payroll guard in front of the Rice and Hutch- 
ins shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachu- 
setts. On August 23, 1927, shortly after mid- 
night, two Italian anarchists, Nicola Sacco 
and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were electrocuted at 
Charlestown Prison. Six years before, Sacco, 
a shoemaker, and Vanzetti, a fishmonger, had 
been found guilty in a Dedham courtroom for 
the robbery and killing at South Braintree. 
Their institutional murder had been author- 
ized as the result of one of the most contro- 
versial legal proceedings in United States 
history . 

During the years between their conviction and 
the execution of their sentences Sacco and 
Vanzetti achieved worldwide notoriety, and 
their case became a cause celebre among lib- 
erals and left-wing political groups every- 
where. The uproar was occasioned by a series 
of events which strongly suggested a number of 
judicial inequities. Immediately after the 
trial ended, information was turned up by the 
legal defense indicating that some of the 
prosecution's witnesses had either lied or 
been mistaken concerning identifications and 
ballistics evidence. On the basis of these 
discoveries, six supplementary motions for a 
new trial were filed from 1921 to 1926. All 
were denied by the original trial judge, Web- 
ster Thayer, who did not trouble to hide his 
prejudice against radical aliens. Following 
the verdict, he had remarked to a group of 
friends, "Did you see what I did to those 
anarchistic bastards?" Nonetheless, the Sup- 
reme Judicial Court of Massachusetts , ignoring 
such indiscretion, had refused to overrule 
Thayer on questions of evidence. Federal jus- 
tices likewise were unwilling to consider the 
case. On August 3, 1927, Massachusetts Gov- 
ernor Alvan T. Fuller ruled against clemency 
for Sacco and Vanzetti. The governor's ap- 
pointed committee — headed by Harvard Univer- 
sity President, A. Lawrence Lowell, a class- 
minded Brahmin who cared more about the repu- 
tation of Massachusetts jurisprudence than he 
did about the fate of the accused men — had in- 
vestigated the case and concluded that the two 
alien anarchists were in fact guilty. 


For many liberals at that time, and for many 
years thereafter, the Sacco-Vanzetti case has 
symbolized the perversion of justice by fear 
and intolerance. Here, if nowhere else, is a 
rallying point for progressive thinkers and 
advocates, who too often have been cowed into 
silence during periods of political repress- 

During January 1920, the U.S. government ar- 
bitrarily rounded up for deportation some 
3,000 suspect radical aliens, and the Con- 
gress threatened to pass the country's first 
peacetime sedition law since 1798. Norman 
Hapgood wrote a piece for The Hew Republic 
admonishing his fellow liberals to emerge 
from the "storm cellar" and "give battle for 
those conceptions of freedom handed down to 
us in the noble English tradition and car- 
ried along by the great names in our own 
history." Few heeded the call, and the de- 
fense of liberty was left to a stalwart band 
of libertarian spokesmen who managed to stem 
the repressive tide with a combination of 
political skill and extraordinary good for- 
tune . 

The Sacco-Vanzetti case reached its climax 
when the country was prosperous and content. 
The affluence of the twenties mellowed the 
postwar anxieties which had given rise to 
the Red Scare, and the government's search 
for Bolshevists and lef t-of-center adherents 
had long since been abandoned. Now secure, 
liberals protested in droves. Petitions 
were filed from everywhere, especially aca- 
demic institutions. Prominent lawyers vol- 
unteered their services, and artists and 
writers joined progressive political lead- 
ers in special appeals and in round-the- 
clock picketing of the State House during 
the last, fateful days. Some entered the 
protest out of a sincere conviction that a 
grave injustice had been done. Others, 
like Fred Moore — chief defense counsel, 
1921-1924 — hoped to build a class-conscious 
labor movement through the acquittal of the 
two men. For either idealistic or opportun- 
istic reasons, American liberals finally em- 
erged from the "storm cellar," having dis- 
covered an incident where they might safely 
reaffirm their commitment to democratic val- 
ues. The actual fate of the two aliens was, 
for many, incidental to more abstract pur- 
poses. Rosa Baron, "a dry, fanatical little 
woman" who headed one of the communist front 
demonstrations before the state capital, 

carried the ulterior motive to its logical ex- 
treme when she responded to Katherine Anne 
Porter's suggestion that their efforts might 
save the lives of the condemned men: "Alive 
— what for? They are no earthly good to us 
alive. " 

The recent events in Massachusetts surrounding 
the fiftieth anniversary of Sacco and Van- 
zetti's death in the electric chair have evok- 
ed political passions similar to those which 
attended the original case. Governor Dukakis' 
July 19 Proclamation before the State Senate, 
in which he commented that "there are sub- 
stantial, indeed compelling grounds for be- 
lieving that the Sacco and Vanzetti legal pro- 
ceedings were permeated with unfairness," has 
touched off a controversy involving the integ- 
rity of the Massachusetts courts, as well as 
the good name of the late Governor Fuller. 
Along with raising a mild furor, Dukakis has 
sparked another "liberal reunion," and I can 
see motives in his statement that hark back to 
1927. There is an evident sincerity. The 
governor, as the Christian Science Monitor has 
pointed out, "has long had a special interest 
in and working knowledge of the Sacco-Vanzett i 
case." He was once a member of the Boston law 
firm which played a leading role in the Sacco- 
Vanzetti legal defense, and he is probably con- 
vinced that the two Italian anarchists did not 
receive a fair shake in the Massachusetts 
courts. But Dukakis has also been accused of 
gunning for liberal and ethnic votes. State 
Senator Alan D. Sisitsky, although he support- 
ed the Dukakis proclamation, has remarked: "If 
there were a couple of thousand cannibals in 
Massachusetts and he (Dukakis) thought he could 
get their votes he would probably make some 
gesture." So the idealistic and personal mot- 
ivation is present once more, and liberal agi- 
tation boils up anew around a point of contin- 
uing historical controversy. But what does all 
this protest, past and present, mean? 

I do not take issue with the Governor's Pro- 
clamation. The Sacco-Vanzetti case remains an 
instructive example of the way judicial and 
governmental institutions can be affected by 
intolerance. Yet, public gestures, whatever 
the motivation, too often fail to go far 
enough or to grapple seriously with hard pol- 
itical realities. Whether we like to face it 
or not, the two men about whom so much has been 
said and written are dead, and for them the 
judgment is irrevocable. It might be more to 

the point to wonder, in the face of probable 
error within any judicial system, why people 
continue to support and condone the death pen- 
alty — the real killer of the two Italian mar- 
tyrs, innocent or guilty. Here might be a 
good place for all that passionate liberal con- 
cern to coalesce into significant action and 
correct a prevailing injustice. 


There is a joke (courtesy of philosophy pro- 
fessor, Arthur Sullivan). Q. What is the dif- 
ference between an Englishman and an Irishman? 
A. The Englishman thinks the world situation 
is serious but not hopeless; the Irishman, 
that it is hopeless but not serious. 

In the person of an anonymous Dubliner — 
pseudonymed, for his own protection, Sean 
Hewitt — who manages the trick of being both a 
Protestant and a member of the, Irish Republi- 
can Army, Darcy O'Brien makes the joke real 
("The. Irish Paradox," The Hew York Times Mag- 
azine , 11 Sep. 1977). Witty and high-styled, 
O'Brien's essay flows like an elegant short 
story and raises questions which you know will 
rattle around in your mind until we are all 

Sean Hewitt, by American standards, is a 
ne'er-do-well client of welfare, a wastrel, a 
near-criminal, and a dangerous revolutionary. 
By another measure, Sean Hewitt is a student 
of civilization, a historian and philosopher, 
a passionate seeker after justice. Contra- 
dictions abound. Said one Irish-American 
friend, after reading the piece, "Yup, that's 
the Irish for you. They're crazy." Which 
goes to show how far the American Irish have 
come — or sunk. 

— CAM— 


William G. Seeley 

"The nation is like a man waking 
up in the drunk tank after an 
all-night spree." 

Congressman Mike McCormick 

U.S. energy consumption has been growing ex- 
ponentially since the beginning of the century. 
In 1900 we used 5 quads of energy (a quad is 
one quadrillion of British Thermal Units — 
enough energy to run a city of one million 
people for three years). In 1950 we